COP26: A Call for Change

by Carol Rickard
Oct. 13, 2021 | Back To Explore

At Little, our commitment to delivering holistically-sustainable projects is grounded in our promise to work every day towards a goal of designing projects that not only do less harm, but ultimately do good – regenerative projects that achieve a successful balance between environmental, economic and human factors. 

That’s why Little is proud to be among the 60 largest and most influential design and construction firms to have signed an open letter to world governments attending the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), asking them to take decisive action to reduce carbon emissions.  

Carbon traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere which changes the earth’s ecosystems, and temperatures rise around the planet. Unless there are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions limiting climate warming to 1.5oC, we will be unable to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, endangering our cities and communities. 

The built environment is the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions and the construction and operations of buildings responsible are for approximately 40% of those emissions. That percentage is actually much higher when taking into account the associated infrastructure, building systems, furniture and equipment used to outfit them. 

The design profession and allied industries are changing the way we design and construct buildings to change the impact on the environment. Through measures that the US building industry has implemented, the building sector has not increased its energy consumption since 2005 even though the US has added more than 50 billion square feet of space in the same period. Through a careful approach to design and construction by professionals and engaged clients, carbon emissions in the US are declining every year and have achieved a 30% reduction since 2005. 

By showing what is possible, we are offering encouragement for others to do the same. In this open letter to government leaders attending the COP26, the signatories are challenging them to limit  emissions, and to set and achieve emission reductions in the built environment.  

“The AIA is committed to advocating for energy-efficient, resilient, and zero carbon buildings in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities. It is imperative that world leaders meeting in Glasgow fully commit to adopting aggressive building policies, incentives, and codes that meet the 1.5oC carbon budget,” said Peter Exley, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  

To learn about other ways Little is helping to positively impact the regeneration of our planet, check out these articles: 

USING OUR NEWLY AWAKENED AWARENESS TO MAKE BETTER DESIGN DECISIONS  

A NET-ZERO ENERGY REALITY  

Visit the COP26 website here.